The beauty of sound baths
Sound baths and sound healing has been used since ancient times, and it can be explained, studied, and quantified through quantum physics.
Quantum physics speaks to how everything in the Universe is made up of tiny particles that vibrate. That includes everything that you can see, like the couch you are sitting on, and everything that you cannot see, like the sound waves that are currently surrounding you. Ancient wisdom has been harnessing the influence of these vibrations for ages and modern practices like binaural beats are doing the same.
Have you ever noticed how some songs make you feel energised and happy, while others invoke strong emotions of sadness or melancholy? This is a modern-day example of how sound waves affect us.
What is a sound bath?
Sound baths have nothing to do with bath tubs. Instead, it is an immersive experience where you are enveloped with sound waves or vibrations. The sound waves are created through various methods that include healing instruments and the human voice.
How do sound baths work?
The entire universe is made up of tiny particles that vibrate at different frequencies. These frequencies determine how specific things manifest in the physical world. Our bodies also hold specific frequencies, and sometimes these frequencies go out of balance. When our vibrations are out of whack, we experience dis-ease, either in our physical bodies, in our minds, or in our souls. This dis-ease could manifest as physical ailments, mental disorders like anxiety and depression, or a sense of restlessness and unbalance that we cannot quite understand.
With sound bath or sound healing, we make use of external vibrations to influence our internal vibrations. It works through something called resonance. If you tap a ‘C’ tuning fork, it gives off sound vibrations. If you bring another, static, tuning fork close enough to the vibrating tuning fork, the second fork will be affected by the vibrations of the first tuning fork, and start to vibrate and emit its own sound and vibrations. The same happens if the vibrating tuning fork is placed against objects made from wood, metal, or glass.
This principle of resonance lies at the root of sound baths. We create a vibration in one object and allow these vibrations to transfer to other objects – in this case, our bodies.
Sound waves and your brain
Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours all stem from what is happening in the neurons in our brains. These neurons communicate with each other, and the rest of our bodies through electrical pulses called brain waves. When these waves have a low frequency, you might feel slow and sluggish; when they have a high frequency, you could feel hyper-alert. Different parts of the brain require different frequencies, and different frequencies might affect the different parts of your brain in unique ways.
Having said that, here is a general description of how different wave frequencies affect your brain.
Infra-low waves (less than 0.5HZ)
These brainwaves are responsible for the fundamental cortical (outside part of your brain) rhythms. They are the root of your higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves because they are super slow and thus difficult to find and measure.
Delta waves (0.5 – 3HZ)
Delta waves are slow and loud. They are created during deep meditation and sleep when you release your awareness of the external world. Empathy, healing, and regeneration are encouraged by these brainwave frequencies.
Theta waves (3 – 8HZ)
Theta brainwaves are generated during sleep and deep meditation. These brainwaves stimulate learning, memory, and intuition. When theta waves are dominant, you withdraw from the external world and focus on your internal landscape. You are able to experience vivid images, dreams, and intuition that is not usually available to your conscious mind. Theta waves are usually present during the moments just before you wake up or fall asleep. It is also the state where you might encounter the fears and troubles that you are not aware of in a more conscious state.
Alpha waves (8 – 12HZ)
Alpha waves represent your brain at rest. These waves occur when you experience calmly flowing thoughts or light meditation when you are entirely immersed and engaged in the present moment. Alpha waves encourage calmness, alertness, learning, mental coordination, and integration of your mind and body.
Beta waves (12 – 38HZ)
Beta brainwaves are predominant during your normal waking state. This includes the times when you focus your attention on cognitive tasks and the external world. It is present in tasks that involve problem-solving, making decisions, and focused mental clarity. High-frequency beta waves require large amounts of energies, and spending too much time in this space could lead to you feeling burned out.
Gamma waves (38 – 42HZ)
Gamma brainwaves are the highest frequency brainwaves. They process information from different brain areas at the same time, quickly and quietly. Ironically, your mind has to be quiet to reach gamma wave frequencies. Gamma brainwaves are abundant when we feel universal love or act in generous ways. It is unclear how gamma brainwaves are created, but it is believed that these waves relate to spiritual awareness and higher consciousness.
Sound bath tools
Numerous tools can be used during sound bath sessions. Most of these tools have roots in ancient healing practices. Each creates its own unique sounds and vibrations. You will also find that each piece might create subtly different vibrations based on the material that it is made of or other physical differences.
Tibetan singing bowls
Tibetan singing bowls are made from different metals. They usually have an inscription or patterns on the outside. These patterns create a specific sound when a wooden stick or mallet is run against the outside of the bowl. These bowls can also create a sound vibration by striking the rim of the bowl with a mallet. Singing bowls can affect your vibrations merely by being played in the room, or they can be placed on your body for a more intense effect.
Crystal singing bowls
Crystal singing bowls are made from quartz crystal. Vibrations from crystal singing bowls heal and balances all of your chakras.
Tuning forks are made from steel and generate a specific tone that resonates with specific vibrations. During a sound bath immersion, the tuning fork is struck or tapped and held close to the body.
Wind chimes are traditionally used in Feng Shui to increase the flow of Chi or life force energy.
Your voice is a powerful way to alter your vibrations. Not only does it create sound waves, but it also creates vibrations in your bones and body as you make the sounds. You can use your voice for sound bathing by singing or humming. You can also combine the power of your vocal vibrations with the ancient energies held in specific mantras to encourage more profound healing and relaxation.
A didgeridoo is an indigenous Australian instrument that is believed to clear stagnant emotions and energies. It also promotes meditative practices and mind-body healing.
Gongs are believed to balance physical, emotional, and spiritual discord. Gongs can be either soft and subtle or loud and intense – to the point where you can physically feel the vibrations moving through your body.
The rhythms created by drums can change your brainwave frequencies. They are especially useful to get into deeper states of meditation and trances.
How are sound bath sessions conducted?
There are various ways to bring sound bath healing into your life. You can do it on your own, work with a practitioner, or participate in a session with a group of people. Each method holds its own unique qualities. Individual practices are intimate and personal. Here you can dedicate your practice to specific spaces where you would like to create more balance and alignment.
Practicing with a practitioner allows you to tap into their knowledge, experience, and expertise. In one-on-one practices, you will be able to transform imbalances that you might not be aware of. This is a powerful way to sink deeper into sound bath healing in a safe space while being guided by your practitioner.
Group sessions are especially powerful as they combine the energies and vibrations of everyone involved. Not only does every person bring their own unique vibrations to these sessions, but they all contribute to the change in vibrations during the session. A collective practice amplifies and intensifies the vibrations that are raised in the space.
During a sound bath session, you will either sit comfortably in a chair lay on the floor in Shavasana, or corpse pose position. This position is perfect for cultivating deep relaxation.
You can close your eyes and allow the sound to wash over you and through you. It will bring a deep sense of relaxation.
Each sound bath experience is unique
Each one of us vibrates on a different level. More so, every cell in our bodies vibrates on a different level. Because of this, a sound bath experience is unique and distinct for each one of us.
Sound baths are an immersion in healing vibrations and energies to cultivate deeper relaxation, meditation, and healing. It has the potential to heal your physical body, mind, and soul through balancing your internal vibrations.